|Coastal waters (5 083)||110||379||1492||2557||545||5083||abs|
|Transitional waters (901)||57||150||397||213||84||901||abs|
|Lakes (24 658)||804||2004||8008||9864||3978||24658||abs|
|Rivers (108 849)||5835||13822||41446||35893||11853||108849||abs|
|Coastal waters (5 083)||2.16||7.46||29.35||50.3||10.72||100||prc|
|Transitional waters (901)||6.33||16.65||44.06||23.64||9.32||100||prc|
|Lakes (24 658)||3.26||8.13||32.48||40||16.13||100||prc|
|Rivers (108 849)||5.36||12.7||38.08||32.98||10.89||100||prc|
Surface waters are important habitats. They are key for supporting society and the economy throughout Europe and clean, unpolluted waters are essential for healthy ecosystems. However, surface waters have traditionally been used as disposal routes for human, agricultural and industrial wastes, damaging water quality. They have also been altered (by building dams and canals, etc.) to facilitate agriculture and urbanisation, produce energy and protect against flooding, all of which can change and degrade habitats.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) stipulates that EU Member States should aim to achieve good status for all surface water and groundwater bodies. Ecological status and potential are criteria used to assess the quality of the structure and functioning of surface water ecosystems. Ecological status is influenced by water quality (e.g. pollution) and habitat degradation, and is used as a proxy for the overall status of water bodies.
According to countries’ second river basin management plans (RBMPs) covering the period up to 2015, good or better (high) ecological status has been achieved for only around 40% of surface waters (rivers, lakes, and transitional and coastal waters). Moreover, there has been little improvement in ecological status since the publication of the first RBMPs in 2009, with the status of most water bodies remaining similar. Despite this lack of overall improvement, the status of many of the individual elements that make up ecological status has improved.
The main pressures on surface water bodies are pollution from point (e.g. waste water) and diffuse (e.g. agriculture) sources, and various hydromorphological pressures such as barriers (dams), and low-flow or channelised rivers, with the main impacts being nutrient enrichment, chemical pollution and habitat alterations due to morphological changes.
To improve and restore the approximately 60% of surface waters in the EU that still have less than good ecological status, and meet WFD objectives, full implementation of management and mitigation measures under the WFD, in combination with full implementation of measures under other relevant directives, is needed.